Old-timers in the Netherlands, electric cars and environmental zones

Vintage cars in the Netherlands

By: Herman Steendam - FEHAC

Every year in September, the FEHAC asks the RDW how many 30 year and older vehicles they have in their files. Then they ask for the numbers of cars, company cars, motorcycles and mopeds and then a breakdown by fuel type. And that fuel is not just the usual gasoline, diesel or LPG, because even a few vintage cars run on natural gas, hydrogen or electricity. It is the management information to be able to properly estimate the consequences of the regulations regarding old-timers. This leads to surprising figures: for example, there are five company-cars powered by electricity, there are two motorcycles powered by diesel and the total number of electric 30 + vehicles is only 53 units. Last year there were 44. A plug gold timer is and remains a very rare appearance.

Fleet is on average getting older

From the age of 30 and older, we have 350.000 cars, 50.000 commercial vehicles, 195.000 motorcycles and 140.000 mopeds and light mopeds in the Netherlands. The number of two-wheelers (335.000) is almost as large as the number of cars (350.000). What is striking is that the category between 30 and 40 years decreases across the board, but that the 40 + category rises. And that increase in the 40-plus age group is greater than the decrease in the 30-40 group, so that on balance the number of old-timers has increased by such an 3% in the past 12 months. Enthusiasts who buy an old-timer for the first time usually opt for an 40-plus. Then you can drive all year round, there is no tax to be paid and they have a nice blue license plate. That preference for an 40 + classic can also be deduced from the number of issued license plates from the special DZ license plate series for classic passenger cars. Of these, 12 units were issued in the last 2.240 months.   

How many diesels are allowed in the environmental zones

You can also use these figures to determine how many diesels are affected by the environmental zone ban in the old-timer target group of 30 + vehicles. Then it appears that there are 21.250 diesel passenger cars and 17.300 diesel commercial vehicles that are not allowed in the environmental zones. The national environmental zone regulation that applies to 1-1-2020 only applies to diesels and not to gasoline and already provides for an exemption from all 40 + diesels. That exemption is also possible, because the average mileage of an 40 + oldtimer is only 1.700 km per year and many of these vehicles are also suspended. It is certainly not the case that the inner cities in 2020 are suddenly flooded with 40 + diesels.  

Quite a lot of vehicles suspended

Many of the vintage cars are not even used and are suspended and parked in a garage or shed without having to drive a meter. Taken by the bank, a good third of all vintage cars are suspended with an outlier to almost half of the diesels and LPG vehicles between the 30 and 40 years old. This is mainly because the group started paying the full pound of MRB again after restricting the MRB exemption in 2014.

So the conclusion is

Old-timers are unabatedly popular and are on average getting older. Electrification of vintage cars remains a marginal phenomenon. A good third of all vintage cars are standing still in the garage, waiting for better driving times.




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  1. In my opinion, Fehac has done too little for the vintage cars. There are more for the very expensive oldies. Every time I am on the road, I look at the number of classics on the road. That can be counted on one hand during the week and without much events at the weekend it cannot be called much. So much has been promised by the government, but apparently there is only agreement for the counterparty who must adhere to it. I am still annoyed by these gangs and we just pick this up.

  2. There is an inaccuracy in the article. The group that has started to pay the full amount in MRB concerns all young timers from year of construction 1988. Within the scope of the author, therefore, the cars of 30 and 31 years old. Cars from 32 to 40 years old are currently still eligible for the MRB transition scheme.

    • Unfortunately, the story of the writer does buy. It clearly states that the full tax must be paid for diesel and LPG. This is correct. The transitional arrangement from 30 to 40 year only applies to gasoline.

  3. recently fined for driving through an environmental zone in arnhem, through route, not entering the neighborhood….
    where does that go?

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